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India’s Leadership At COP28: Charting A Sustainable Course For Global Climate Action

“A small part of humanity has ruthlessly exploited nature, and the entire humanity is bearing the cost of it, especially the inhabitants of the Global South. The selfishness of a few will lead the world into darkness, not just for themselves but for the entire world.” Prime Minister Narendra Modi


In a powerful address at the United Nations climate conference in Dubai, Prime Minister Narendra Modi acknowledged the urgent need for global action to address climate change. India, despite rapidly expanding its renewable energy capacity, still faces the challenge of balancing its commitment to sustainable practices while meeting its growing energy demands. The Prime Minister’s call for collective responsibility and the recognition of historical emissions sets the stage for India’s leading role at COP28.

India’s Dual Challenge: Renewable Energy Expansion and Fossil Fuel Dependency

India has made significant strides in renewable energy, with a substantial increase in wind and solar power capacity in recent years. However, the nation still faces challenges, notably balancing its commitment to renewables with the construction of new coal plants. In 2021, fossil fuel subsidies in India were nine times the size of clean energy subsidies, reflecting a complex energy landscape. Modi acknowledged this paradox, emphasizing the pressing need for a comprehensive shift away from fossil fuels.

The Urgency of Global Action

The Prime Minister highlighted the urgency of addressing climate change, emphasising that there is limited time to correct the mistakes of the past century. He attributed the current state of the environment to the indiscriminate exploitation of nature by a small section of humanity, primarily pointing fingers at developed nations, including the United States and European countries. The impacts of climate change are already evident in India, with heatwaves and floods wreaking havoc.

COP28: A Platform for India’s Bold Initiatives

At COP28, Prime Minister Modi not only reiterated India’s commitment to reducing emissions but also proposed to host the 2028 edition of the conference. This move is significant, considering that the venue for future COPs is typically decided only two years in advance. Modi’s call for developed countries to ‘vacate the carbon space’ before 2050 reflects a forward-looking approach to addressing historical emissions and fostering global cooperation.

The Green Credit Initiative: A Non-Commercial Path to Environmental Stewardship

In a groundbreaking proposal, Prime Minister Modi introduced the “Green Credit initiative,” positioning it as a non-commercial effort to create a carbon sink. While the initiative has been described as a market-based mechanism to incentivize environmental actions across sectors, its core focus is on voluntary actions that contribute to carbon sequestration. This initiative aims to generate credits for activities like afforestation and rejuvenation of natural ecosystems on waste or degraded lands and river-catchment areas. It thereby aligns with the broader goal of creating a carbon sink and rejuvenating natural ecosystems.

Commitments and Hosting COP-33 in India

Prime Minister reiterated India’s commitments made at COP-26, including a 45% of GDP reduction in emissions intensity and a 50% share of non-fossil fuels by 2030, with a net-zero target by 2070. Simultaneously, he offered India as the host for COP33 in 2028, a move to put the issues of the Global South and climate justice at the forefront.

PM Modi’s vision at COP28 extends beyond India’s borders. He called for countries to rise above self-interest and fulfil their climate obligations, emphasizing that developing nations should have appropriate access to the remaining global carbon budget. Modi’s proposal for the New Collective Quantified Goal (NCQG) and his welcome of the Loss and Damage Fund indicate a commitment to shaping a fair and just global response to climate change.

Way Forward

As we contemplate India’s leadership role at COP28 and its forward-looking vision for a sustainable future, it is crucial to embody the principles encapsulated in the acronym EMBRACE. The acronym calls for a collective commitment to:

Ensuring global collaboration through initiatives such as the Green Credit scheme, fostering a united effort in promoting sustainability.

Mitigating the impacts of climate change by diligently fulfilling climate commitments and embracing innovative technologies to address environmental challenges.

Balancing economic development with environmental stewardship, aiming to vacate the carbon space by 2050 and foster a harmonious coexistence of growth and sustainability.

Rising above self-interest and narrow considerations, advocating for a fair and inclusive global response to climate change that transcends individual interests.

Adopting alternative market-based mechanisms that prioritize public participation in projects with positive environmental impacts, promoting a holistic approach to sustainability.

Collaborating on the New Collective Quantified Goal for climate finance, ensuring that developing nations receive the necessary support to navigate the challenges posed by climate change.

Eliminating carbon footprints before 2050 and promoting sustainable lifestyles globally, encouraging a widespread shift towards eco-friendly practices. By embracing these principles, we can collectively contribute to a more sustainable and resilient future for the planet.


Thus, it is now time for the world to EMBRACE sustainable practices, working collectively towards a cleaner and greener future.

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